Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Grand Ole Opry 12/19 & 12/20

With the Christmas season coming to and end, the Grand Ole Opry is back to just one show on Friday night and one show on Saturday. The Tuesday Night Opry finished up for the year this past week and will resume in March. As for the Opry this weekend, let's just be kind and say that it isn't quite up to last week's schedule.

The Friday Night Opry will feature Opry members Jeannie Seely, Jesse McReynolds, Thw Whites, Bill Anderson and Riders In The Sky. Also scheduled are two of the Opry's more frequent guests, Chris Janson and The Willis Clan. It is really nice to see The Earls of Leicester scheduled. This group is headed up by Jerry Douglas and is a tribute to Flatt & Scruggs. The CD has been very well received. Among other guests on Friday, Karyn Williams is a Christian artist making her Grand Ole Opry debut in support of her debut CD, while Doug Seegers is also scheduled with this description, "modern country music is like aged whiskey, but Seegers if pure moonshine, raw and clear, giving a good burn all the way down."

Last week's shows featured no artists from "Nashville", this week they more than make up for it. Clare Bowen is scheduled for both Friday and Saturday night, while once again, Saturday's final segment is given over to actors from the show with Clare being joined by Jonathan Jackson and Charles Esten.

As far as Opry members on Saturday, Bill Anderson and Jeannie Seely return for a 2nd night, while Ricky Skaggs and Sharon White are scheduled. They will also be signing their new CD at the Ryman after the show. And, after missing last week, Mike Snider is back.

Friday December 19
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Chris Janson; Jesse McReynolds
7:30: The Whites (host); Karyn Williams; The Earls of Leicester
8:15: Bill Anderson (host); Exile; Clare Bowen
8:45: Riders In The Sky (host); Doug Seegers; The Willis Clan

Saturday December 20
7:00: Bill Anderson (host); Striking Matches; (Jimmy Dickens?)
7:30: Mike Snider (host); Eric Paslay
8:15: Jeannie Seely (host); Ricky Skaggs & Sharon White; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Jonathan Jackson; Clare Bowen; Charles Esten

I would assume that Jimmy Dickens will be there on Saturday night, while I am hoping that another act will be scheduled for the 2nd segment. If not, I guess that will leave us with a Tuesday night type show.

There is no live Midnight Jamboree this weekend. Instead a taped show from last year will be run, a Christmas special hosted by George Hamilton IV.

And now, here is the Grand Ole Opry posted line-up from 5 years ago this weekend, December 18 & 19, 2009:

Friday December 18
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Jimmy C Newman; Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press
7:30: Jean Shepard (host); Mandy Barnett; Ralph Stanley
8:00: Bill Anderson (host); Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; Jim Lauderdale
8:30: Emmylou Harris (host); The Whites; Gillian Welch & David Rawlings

Saturday December 19
7:00: Jimmy Dickens (host); Connie Smith; Emily West
7:30: Bill Anderson (host); Jan Howard; Ralph Stanley
8:00: Emmylou Harris (host); The Whites; Gillian Welch & David Rawlings; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Ronnie Milsap (host); George Hamilton IV; Jean Shepard; Amber Digby

Now from 10 years ago this weekend, December 17 & 18, 2004:

Friday December 17
7:30: Porter Wagoner (host); Ralph Stanley; Lorrie Morgan
8:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Charlie Walker; Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; Josh Gracin
8:30: George Hamilton IV (host); Jan Howard; Jimmy C Newman; Del McCoury Band
9:00: Bill Anderson (host); Connie Smith; Josh Turner
9:30: Diamond Rio (host); Jean Shepard; Osborne Brothers

Saturday December 18
1st show
6:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Connie Smith; Jim Lauderdale; Blaine Larsen
7:00: Jim Ed Brown (host); w/Helen Cornelius; Joe Nichols; Jimmy Wayne; Trick Pony; Ralph Stanley
8:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Jean Shepard; Billy Walker; Del McCoury Band; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Bill Anderson (host); Riders In The Sky; Brad Paisley

2nd show
9:30: Jim Ed Brown (host); w/Helen Cornelius; Connie Smith; Blaine Larsen
10:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Billy Walker; Osborne Brothers; Jimmy Wayne
10:30: Jean Shepard (host); George Hamilton IV; Ralph Stanley; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Bill Anderson (host); Del McCoury Band; Joe Nichols
11:30: Riders In The Sky (host); Charlie Louvin; Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; Trick Pony

For this week's feature line-up, I go to Saturday December 20, 1986. It was this date 28 years ago that Randy Travis became a member of the Grand Ole Opry.

Randy came to Nashville from North Carolina. When he first came to town, he was employed as a cook at The Nashville Palace, located across the street from the Opryland Hotel. At the time, he was known as Randy Traywick, then as Randy Ray. Finally as Randy Travis, he was signed by Warner Bros. Records in 1985. In 1986, his debut album was released, "Storms of Life" and sold over 4 million copies. The hits and awards followed. He was won 6 CMA awards, 10 American Music Awards, 9 ACM's and 6 Grammys. Many feel it will just be a matter of time before he is elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame. Sadly, the past several years have not been kind to Randy as he has gone through a divorce, a management shake up, and several arrests. He is currently living in Texas and continues to work at recovery from a series of health issues.

Let's remember the good times from Randy Travis and the night he was inducted into the cast of the Grand Ole Opry, Saturday December 20, 1986:

1st show
6:30: Bonanza
Del Reeves (host): Two Dollars in the JukeBox/A Dime at A Time/Looking at the World Through A Windshield
Skeeter Davis: The Rose
Del Reeves: Anywhere U.S.A.

6:45: Rudy's
Porter Wagoner (host): Sugarfoot Rag
Riders In The Sky: Christmas at the Triple X Ranch
Porter Wagoner: Your Old Love Letters

7:00: Shoney's
Ricky Skaggs (host): Love's Gonna Get You Someday
Lorrie Morgan: One Love At A Time
Jim & Jesse: When I Dream About the Southland
Randy Travis: Diggin' Up Bones/White Christmas Makes Me Blue
Ricky Skaggs: Walking in Jerusalem Just Like John

7:30: Standard Candy
Roy Acuff (host): Wabash Cannonball
Jean Shepard: Kentucky
Roy Drusky: Silent Night
Crook Brothers/Melvin Sloan Dancers: Chicken Reel
Carolee Singers: A Song the Holy Angels Cannot Sing
Dan Kelly: Sally Goodin'

8:00: Martha White
Bill Monroe (host): Can't You Hear Me Calling
The Whites: It Should've Been Easy
Stonewall Jackson: Why I'm Walkin'
Archie Campbell: Make Friends
Connie Smith: How Great Thou Art
Bill Monroe: Christmas Time's A 'Comin'

8:30: Music Valley Merchants
Hank Snow (host): I'm Moving On
Boxcar Willie: Fireball Mail/Train of Love/Hand Me Down My Walking Cane/Wreck of the Old 97/Orange Blossom Special/Wabash Cannonball/Night Train to Memphis
Osborne Brothers: Makin' Plans
Mel McDaniel: Tennessee Saturday Night/Stand On It
Hank Snow: Christmas Roses

2nd show
9:30: Dollar General Stores
Porter Wagoner (host): Ol' Slewfoot
4 Guys: God Bless the USA
Del Reeves: The Race is On
Jan Howard: Why Lady Why
Billy Walker: Coffee Brown Eyes
Porter Wagoner: I Thought I Heard You Calling My Name

10:00: Little Debbie
Ricky Skaggs (host): Cajun Moon
The Whites: If It Ain't Love
Randy Travis: On the Other Hand
Ricky Skaggs: Country Boy

10:15: Sunbeam
Roy Acuff (host): Meeting in the Air
George Hamilton IV: C-H-R-I-S-T-M-A-S
Roy Acuff: That's the Man I'm Looking For

10:30: Pet Milk
Bill Monroe (host): Old Ebanezer Scrooge
Charlie Louvin: Sunshine on My Shoulders
Bill Monroe: You're Drifting Away/Christmas Time's A' Comin'

10:45: Heil-Quaker
Archie Campbell (host): Make Friends
Bill Carlisle: No Help Wanted
Crook Brothers/Melvin Sloan Dancers: Sally Goodin'

11:00: Coca-Cola
Hank Snow (host): Tangled Mind
Jean Shepard: The Old Rugged Cross
Justin Tubb: Lonesome 7-7203
Charlie Walker: Pick Me Up On Your Way Down
Mel McDaniel: Baby's Got Her Blue Jeans On/Stand On It
Hank Snow: Silent Night

11:30: Quincy's
Boxcar Willie (host): Fireball Mail/Train of Love/Hand Me Down My Walking Cane/Wreck of the Old 97/Orange Blossom Special/Wabash Cannonball/Night Train to Memphis
Osborne Brothers: Me and My Old Banjo
Connie Smith: The Deepening Snow/Sing, Sing, Sing
Boxcar Willie: Cold, Cold Heart/Take These Chains From My Heart/Half As Much/I Can't Help It/Your Cheatin' Heart/They'll Never Take Her Love From Me/Wedding Bells/Lovesick Blues/Move It On Over

Congratulations to Randy Travis and enjoy the Opry this weekend!!!


  1. Sure do wish Randy Travis was able to perform on the Opry/Ryman stage to commemorate his 28th year of Opry membership.

    To update everyone regarding The Marty Stuart's Show. The following is a message posted on Facebook last week by Marty's sister, Jennifer.

    "By the way I do have permission to say via my brother . . the show is on a HIATUS just for now!!"

    Not long ago, I heard Marty interviewed & he admitted to not knowing how to turn on a computer, so I guess I understand why he gave his sister permission to post what she did. According to his sister, Marty's "computer" consists of having his glasses close at hand, along with a notepad, a pen & a green clear folder containing 1 to 2 in. of phone/contact info as well as his touring schedule & everything is handwritten. So a Marty Stuart laptop is ALL in ink. ha! It was nice that he gave his sister the okay to post a message regarding his show.

    I found it very hard to believe that Patrick Gottsch, founder of RFD-TV, would let the face of & the #1 rated show on his cable channel, slip through his fingers. I am happy to pass this information along for those who enjoy Marty's show as much as I do. So happy that, at some point, the show will be returning to the airwaves. I will, once again, post information as I hear or read about it.

    Have a great weekend ~


  2. I am in Michigan , but Comcast has never seen fit to carry RFD channel yet. I have eagerly been awaiting its arrival, but so far, no deal. Marty may be a victim of poor marketing on the part of RFD ownership. We saw Marty in concert a few years ago at the old Little Nashville Opry House in Nashville , Indiana, and he was absolutely terrific. (that venue has since burned to the ground and not been rebuilt ). Hopefully marty's show will find a channel more suitable to the local cable moloponeer ( may I patent that term ?? ), Comcast

    Flushing, Michigan

  3. I wonder how much longer the Midnight Jamboree (and Ernest Tubb Record Shop for the matter) can continue to hang on. I heard a bit of last week's show with host Dianne Sherrill. It sounded as if they had maybe 15 people in the audience, all of whom Dianne Sherrill begged to come over from her nightly gig at John A's restaurant.

    Nobody is tuning into the show to listen to Dianne Sherrill. Nobody knows who Dianne Sherrill is. Also, if you can't attract people to a FREE show in town, does this not signal problems? They haven't had but one or two worthwhile hosts all year long. I noticed that Marty Stuart is hosting in January, I'm sure that will be their biggest of 2015.

  4. There may be other issues with ET Record Shop but the Opry changes certainly have made an impact on the Midnight Jamboree. The new regular schedule of the one-show only Saturday night Opry ending at 9:30 really changed the dynamic - people are not going to stay around waiting for the midnight show. Same goes for it being at the Ryman, those folks are not going to drive back to Music Valley Drive. It did work when the Opry ended late. We have been there on numerous occasions (in years past) and depending on the host, sometimes it was standing room only !! Hope it works out when Marty Stuart is there.

  5. I agree that the Opry has affected the Midnight Jamboree, however, I'm not sure that is their biggest issue. In the past, they had better hosts. I have been many times as well when it was standing room only. Mel Tillis, Marty Stuart, Rhonda Vincent, Connie Smith, Wanda Jackson, and Jeannie Seely have all packed out the theater in the past 10 years. The hosts they've had the past few years have been lackluster at best. People will come to a free show if -- 1) they know it exists and 2) it is someone they have actually heard of before.

    Nobody is going to go out of their way to see Dianne Sherrill. Marty is hosting on January 3rd, I'm sure that will be a standing room only show for them. January 10th is Teea Goans... she's a fine singer, but she's not going to pack them in as she's not known at all. January 17th is "The Farm Hands"... who on earth are the Farm Hands??? Then, they don't have another live show until the Spring. I wonder if any of the Opry legends are even being approached to the Midnight Jamboree anymore? I'm certain Bill Anderson would draw a huge crowd for them, but maybe he's not interested in doing a show for peanuts.

  6. "maybe he's not interested in doing a show for peanuts. "

    Leonard, you just jarred my memory back to one of Bill's best writing efforts, that sold about fifteen copies,
    "Peanuts and Diamonds.".
    "And she says I wish they were peanuts
    And I wish this was Cowtown
    And I wish, oh I wish he was mine"

    Thanks for your comments!

  7. I did some checking last week when I was in Nashville, and did ask some questions regarding the Ernest Tubb Record Shop and the Midnight Jamboree. Also, I did go over and "check" the crowd for Dianne Sherrill and yes, it was pretty small. But I will say it wasn't the smallest crowd I have seen. 6 back in the early 1990s holds the record for me, and that was hosted by Charlie Louvin that night.

    The inventory in the record shop remains very low, as it was in October when I was down for the Opry's birthday bash. I was told that David McCormick, the owner of the Ernest Tubb Record Shop, has more inventory on order and the shop will be restocked. Also, because of this, they were behind on mail and phone orders and are in the process of catching up.

    As far as the Midnight Jamboree, I was told they really want to keep it going and are working hard. Getting someone to host the Midnight Jamboree is not as easy as it seems. For one, they are not really paid for doing the show. A free show means no money coming in, other then the tip jar for musicians. Opry stars usually had no issue going over to do the show as they were already at the Opry and doing the show was a way to meet the fans and shake some hands. But those days are gone. Many times, a host has been booked or committed to do the Jamboree, and then have cancelled out at the last minute because a paid job has come up. Then they are left scrambling to find someone to host. A few weeks, nobody has been found and they have run a taped show. The other issue is a lot of those who have hosted in the past, are getting older and just don't want to be out that late any more. The jamboree starts at midnight, goes to a little after 1am, then the artists will be in the shop signing autographs for another hour. I remember, as do a few others, that the night Jim Ed Brown had his 50th Opry anniversary and hosted the midnight jamboree with his sisters, they didn't get out until almost 3am. That makes a long, long day for these older acts.

    The other big issue, and it has been mentioned in other comments, is the Opry. With the Opry downtown from November-January, it takes the action away from the Opryland area. The downtown shop did host a few shows a few years back when the Opry first went back to the Ryman, but it didn't work out that well. The downtown shop is not really wired up for radio and small, compared to the theater. And let's face it, people have gotten used to sitting for the hour show instead of standing. Then the Opry going to just one show on most Saturday nights really hurt. Fans just don't want to hang around doing nothing for two hours waiting for the jamboree. They would rather go downtown, to one of the area bars, or just back home or to their hotel.

    Yes, when there is a big named host the fans will come out. Marty will bring them out, as he has in the past. Same when they have Mel Tills, and a few of the other bigger named Opry stars. Hopefully more will get booked. I give David credit for working hard to keep things going. Hopefully the fans will continue to come out and the hosts will continue to commit and do the show.

  8. Interesting that Ray Pillow has been added to Saturday's Grand Ole Opry and has been put into the roll of hosting the 2nd segment, with Mike Snider moving down and no longer a host. Ray has appeared at the Opry 13 times this year and has hosted each time. That is what you get when you are a "senior" member of the Opry. With many of the legends no longer appearing or having passed away, the Opry is calling Ray many more times than they used to.

  9. During the months that the Opry is at the Ryman, would holding the Midnight Jamboree somewhere like Tootsie's, Legend's Corner, or Roberts be a better solution? They could keep the downtown record shop open during these hours and have signing there after the show.

    The Jamboree seems to be feeling the impact of the passing of Opry legends even more severely than the Opry itself. Those who supported the show the most have just about all passed on now. It would be sad to see it come to an end, but without much support from the acts who can draw a crowd and fans to fill the seats there is not much ETRS can do.

  10. Fred, Bismarck:

    In life, mortality draws the bottom line. If E.T. can die, so can the record shop and the Jamboree, alas.

    I still don't understand why the Jamboree can't start right after the Opry, as of old. (Okay, a half-hour later, when the Opry is at the Ryman.) What's magic about midnight?

    I also don't understand bumping Snider as host in favor of Pillow. Pillow may have been on the Opry longer, but Snider is not exactly chopped liver, seniority-wise, and infinitely more engaging.

  11. WSM programming probably won't accommodate the "Jamboree" being any earlier. The "Midnight" Jamboree was just that, because that was when the Opry originally ended. And the idea of the other commercial businesses having the show won't happen either; they have no affiliation with ETRS nor WSM nor the setup to put on the show, doubt WSM would move their remote sites.

  12. You may remember a few years back when the Midnight Jamboree actually took place at 10:00 and they taped the show for later replay at midnight on WSM. That only lasted a short amount of time and the crowds were not really any larger. Also the Ernest Tubb Record Shop/David McCormick buys the time from WSM for the midnight jamboree. That has always been the arrangement. And that is also one of the reasons they push records and sell products on the midnight jamboree.

    Years ago, when Justin Tubb was running the jamboree, WSM had to actually pay back a large amount of money to the jamboree because of the Opry running over past midnight and the jamboree starting much later than midnight. Apparently air time on WSM is cheaper after 1:00am when the jamboree would normally end, thus they were overpaying for the air time. From what I heard, the check returned back to Justin was pretty big as it had added up over time.

  13. I wasn't able to listen to the whole show--and frankly, lately I haven't tried--but The Potato seemed in good voice last night. He also forgot the words to the second verse of "Out Behind the Barn" and at the end of the instrumental break announced that he would give anything to remember them; someone clearly prompted him and he did the next verse. Then Bill Anderson announced a birthday cake and everybody sang "Happy Birthday." When Ol' Whisper came out, The Potato asked if he was being fired, which got a big laugh.

  14. Loved Little Jimmy Dickens; took a phone call and missed some of Mike Snider's jokes - he was in good form last night; frankly, they could have done without Striking Matches and Clare Bowen; rest of the show was good especially Bill Anderson; actually liked Charles Esten and Jonathon Jackson this time. I was surprised to hear Kenny Sears' name as performing.

    1. Mike Snider was just hilarious .... back to his old self with the jokes. Hope they continue.


  15. I just noticed that the host for the December 27th Jamboree has been announced... get ready folks, it's a big one. Ike Johnson & The Roadhouse Rangers! Who are these people? If you click on the link on the record shop's website, it links to their facebook page, which has 328 "likes".

    At this point the Jamboree is not honoring Mr. Tubb's legacy, it is tarnishing it.

  16. Here is the band Ike Johnson & The Roadhouse Rangers.

    Ike Jonson - Rhythm Guitar/Vocals, Scott Icenogle - Bass/Vocals, Mike Sweeney - Steel Guitar, Hoot Hester - Fiddle, Steve Underwood - Drums

    I think Ernest would approve. Hoot just got fired by the current 'Opry management, which I would consider a high honor.